Tough questions for fast moving Menino

by: Stephen Puibello
Reprinted with permission of Digital City Boston/America Online

If you think the streets look "good" Mr. Mayor, take a walk down Boylston Street or Newbury Street in the Back Bay; take a walk along Columbus Avenue or Tremont Street, in the South End, where litter is all over the place because of the lack of litter baskets — only 1,500 per 600,000 residents.

Mr. Mayor, take a walk down the rear alley-ways of the Back Bay on a Monday or Thursday and tell me why it looks the way it does. Perhaps it’s the non- enforcement of the city’s RUMMAGING ordinance 23.6 that leads to the search for nickel deposit bottles-cans, not to mention the plague of RATS. Take a walk at night in the Fenway, the Back Bay or on Beacon Hill and notice the rats that scurry around our "clean" streets.

What about the failing RECYCLING program, Mr. Mayor? A program subject to loss of FUNDING because of a Commissioner who hasn’t supported it from the start. Not to mention the last April’s SNOW STORM fiasco either.

While the entire city lost hundreds of trees, only two trees were lost on the Commonwealth Avenue mall because of the Neighborhood Association — a strong group that fought the city who prunes the trees.

What about the increased stabbings on the MBTA? What about the many TEEN SUCICIDES in South Boston? What about TRUENCY problems? If more teachers followed protocols on these issues, maybe only one death would have been prevented, but that’s better then saving none at all.

Mr. Mayor, it is pretty bad when the only streets I see clean are those who use private companies hired by property managers, i.e. The Christian Science complex, Prudential Mall, etc… The Mass Pike beneath the city has bridges that connect all 28 parcels they own. That’s 56 sidewalks that are the dirtiest in the city — never maintained for litter or snow.

What about PARKING Mr. Mayor? As Tom Keane recently shed light on, it costs $20.00 to park your car in the city. How much is the parking ticket? $20.00. How quickly do you see folks getting up to move their cars?

What about the STREET CLEANING program that promised to tow cars this year so the sweeper could do its job?

What about the 65,000 dog owners who every year wait for this city to reflect other cities with larger fines, dog toilets, dog parks or runs — this is 10 years over-due.

What about the internal relations within city hall — what does a Liaison between the Mayors office and City Council do, anyway?.

What’s up with the city’s WEB PAGE (Contact the Mayor)? That's the one that allows email only to the mayor and not the other elected body — the CITY COUNCIL. What message, Mr. Mayor, do you send out when a City Councillor has to provide his own web site?

City Councillors get no respect and are toothless, except for the city BUDGET? Why on the organizational chart of our city government is there no line connecting city council members to the rest of the city?

Why aren’t form letters sent out to each and every citizens who calls 635-4500 — another $300,000 program that could be a great one if given the TOOLS to do their jobs well. Time and time again, Mr. Mayor, I hear the same phrase, from city employees, "we have limited TOOLS to get our jobs done." Its nice that your striving to get computers in every class room, why not get them into City Hall as well.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into Neighborhood Services asking for a MASTER COPY of all Neighborhood Associations by district and being told that one doesn’t exist. And if it does, why isn’t it provided on any of the racks in the City Hall lobby?

Why Mr. Mayor is there no ACCOUNTABILTY structure in place? If City Hall were run as a business its customers would go elsewhere.